New rules in effect Friday, August 27 for Pūpūkea ocean waters

Rules for the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD) on O‘ahu’s North Shore are changing effective Friday, August 27.  This follows Governor Ige’s approval of a measure that was passed by the Board of Land and Natural Resources June 10, 2021 following a lengthy public input process.

The biggest rule change applies to the Kapoʻo tide pools, also known as the Old Quarry tidepools, which until now have not been part of the MLCD.  When the Pūpūkea MLCD was first designated in 1983, the intent was to include the tidepool area.  But an executive order which established the county beach park back in 1956 led to uncertainty as to who actually owned the Kapo‘otidepools. In 2008, following discussion and agreement with county officials, Governor Lingle withdrew the tidepools and adjacent area from county jurisdiction and set them aside for inclusion in the MLCD.  But the boundaries had never been amended to reflect that change until now.  So as of August 27, the tidepool area is part of the MLCD, and marine life in this area will be fully protected.

“The Kapo‘o tidepools add to the diversity and uniqueness of the Pupukea MLCD and are a key part of what makes this area a special place,” said Brian Neilson, Administrator for the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR).  “DAR appreciates the community support we received for expanding the MLCD boundary to conserve the fish, invertebrates, and limu in this area.”

Marine Life Conservation Districts are designed to conserve and replenish marine resources. MLCDs allow only limited fishing and other consumptive uses, or prohibit such uses entirely.  They provide fish and other aquatic life with a protected area in which to grow and reproduce.  Fishing is prohibited within the Pūpūkea MLCD, although some hand harvest of limu is permitted, as is shoreline hook-and-line fishing within Waimea Bay, and seasonal net fishing for ‘ōpelu and akule within the Bay.

The new rule also prohibits fish feeding, which alters natural fish behavior, within the MLCD.  Other changes are mostly housekeeping measures, such as amending the definitions of limu lipe‘epe‘e and ‘opihi, and clarifying penalties.

New signage for the area is in production and will be installed upon completion.